I KILLED

HERCULE POIROT
A comedy/thriller in two-acts an adaptation
by Alfred Vassallo


CHARACTERS 

Inspector Agatha Christie has never been known for his modesty but with such success in his career, he is quite justified in his opinion 11 out of 12 cases solved! He likes satisfying his own ego and confirming to all, that he is “the greatest mind in the world.” In his 50s.

Miss Felicity Lemon Poirot's secretary, Miss Felicity Lemon, has few human weaknesses. She is an expert on nearly everything. Secretly she is head over heels in love with Poirot. In her 30s.

Captain Arthur Hastings represents the traditional English gentleman — not too bright but absolutely scrupulous, a throwback to the Victorian-era gentleman who is always concerned about "fair play. In his 30s.

Inspector James Japp while being a competent detective, was no match for Poirot; he frequently finds himself a step behind the great detective which annoys him and makes him very jealous of him. In his 50s

Miss Adriane Oliver through her knowledge of the criminal mind writes mystery books. She often claims to be endowed with particular "feminine intuition," but it usually leads her astray. In her 40s

Mrs. Prudence (Tuppence) Cowley The young twenty-something, married to Tommy and together they devise a new strategy to make money. They became private detectives. She’s very polite and posh. In her 20s

Miss Jane Marple is an elderly spinster who acts as an amateur detective and lives in the village of St. Mary Mead. She’s very shrewd, intelligent and very, very meddlesome. She pries, she interferes and very curious. Most of the time she gets up the nose of the detectives in charge of the investigations. In her 60s 

 

 


SCENERY

The office parlour of Mr. Hercule Poirot. It is a large room and very well furnished. There is a door right that leads to Miss Felicity Lemon’s office. Two doors to the centre one leading into the hall and the main door of the flat and the other door with a bolt-on which leads to an adjoining flat belonging to Captain Arthur Hastings.  Down left a window that overlooks the street below.

SYNOPSIS

Hercule Poirot has been murdered and Inspector Christie hopes to find out who killed the Detective. There seems to be no shortage of suspects, Miss Lemon holds a secret passionate love towards him. Inspector Jabb loathes him because Poirot always solved his cases first. Adriane Oliver had a grudge because he refused to let her right about him in her one of books. Captain Hastings was always left out and he didn’t like it when Poirot mocked him. Mrs. Prudence Tuppence Cowley seems to be the only innocent in this murder case while Miss Marple is jealous of his extreme success. But when one of them steps forward to confess to the murder, Inspector Christie is certain that the case is closed.

TIME

The Late Thirties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2019 Alfred Vassallo.
This play cannot be presented without the permission of the author.


ACT ONE

Scene One - Morning 
 
Lemon’s Voice                           
Good morning Mr. Poirot. Hope you slept well. I ‘ve got your Tisane ready. Hello! Mr. Poirot? 
Oh, there you are still sleeping on your chair. Mr. Poirot, good morning….(She screams)             
 
Scene Two – Minutes Later 
(It is the office and living room of Mr. Hercule Poirot. Standing is Inspector Christie and Miss Lemon is seating. Hercule’s chair is empty.)
 
Lemon             
I had the shock of my life. I came in early, as usual, prepared his Tisane and he was sitting there. (Pointing) I thought that he was sleeping on it and never went to his bed last night. It is not like him I know, but stranger things have happened. So, I went close to him and shook his shoulders to wake him up but when his head moved sideways he had a bullet in his head. In my strong opinion inspector, I think this is what killed him. Why did he shoot himself, Inspector?
            
Christie             
I'm afraid he didn’t shoot himself, someone else did that for him.
 
Lemon                                         
(Shocked) Murdered? Who would do such a thing like that?


Christie             
That is what I want to find out. Please, Miss Lemon, I want you to tell me a little bit you know about your employer, his previous addresses, references, business associates, his friends that sort of things.

Lemon
(Wipes her eyes) Yes, inspector, I will tell you what I can, but I’m afraid I don’t know a lot about Mr. Poirot’s personal habits and friends you know what I mean? As far as I know, he had no enemies, except…..
   
Christie             
Except what?


Lemon                                         
Except maybe those criminals whom he has put in jail.

Christie             
Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean. I know you had quite a shock Miss Lemon and talking about it could be a bit disturbing but you found him so I’ll just try and be as quick as I can and try not to upset you anymore.


Lemon                                         
It’s all right Inspector please feel free as nothing can upset me anymore.


Christie             
Good, very good. (Suspiciously) Why not?


Lemon
(Cheery) I have been involved in so many murders and robberies and whatnot. It is nothing new to me. And I don’t want to lose my job because somebody killed my employer.


Christie
Without him, there is no employment for you. It is good that you’re not upset any more and probably you already know the kind of questions I’m going to ask you. Now then….,


Lemon                           
When did I last see the deceased alive? Did I notice anything unusual? Who were his friends? Did I ever hear him arguing?

 
Christie             
Well yes, let’s start with those.


Lemon             
Well, let me see, the last time I saw him was yesterday evening. When I left and arrived home I couldn’t go in because for some reason I took the keys out of my bag at my office and left them there. So I had to come all the way back from Wimbledon. When I arrived he was still here with Captain Hastings.


Christie             
Captain Arthur Hastings?
 
 Lemon             
Yes, that’s right. They were arguing a bit.


Christie             
Arguing?
 
 Lemon                           
Yes, Captain Hastings had booked their weekend holiday in a golf resort and Mr. Poirot hates golf. Am I going too fast for you?


Christie  

Oh no, no, no, carry on. You’re doing quite well.

 
Lemon                           
As for his friends, as I told I don’t know much about them except for Inspector Jabb of Scotland Yard. Come to think of it how come he’s not investigating the murder himself? Mr. Poirot would have liked that.


Christie          
Well, he’s stuck with me now. Tell me, Miss Lemon, (showing her a gun) have you ever seen this before?


Lemon             
Yes, it’s his gun he usually keeps it in his desk.             
 
Christie             
When you came in this morning and found him, did you notice a cartridge case by a chance on the floor anywhere?
 
Lemon             
No, I didn’t. Can I get on with my files now, it’s getting terribly late?


Christie             
No, you cannot touch anything yet.
 
Lemon             
Don’t touch anything. Why? They’re my files and I won’t let anyone touch them because if they disrupt my system…..


Christie             
Miss Lemon may I remind you that a murder has been committed and everything and everyone must be scrutinised accordingly.


Lemon             
But, but Inspector….
 
Christie             
Anyway, you’ll soon find out that your previous employer’s methods don’t ring true with my investigations. I am somewhat modernised.


Lemon             
Good for you Inspector.

 

Christie             
Yes, it is. I have a good record so far. Twelve murders and eleven convictions. How about that?


Lemon                           
What happened to the other one?


Christie             
Let’s continue and see what we’ve got. (Takes his notebook out and flips some paper over) According to forensics, the murder took place between Midnight and 2 am. Cause of death a gunshot wound in the temple from close range. The gun was found beside him and his wallet was found a few feet away with two fingerprints on one it.


Lemon                           
That was very obliging of him, I think.


Christie             
Yes, Miss Lemon if they belonged to the murderer. This tassel (Showing it to her) must have been torn from a curtain or something but it does match anything in here, and the overturned lamp. And that is all I’ve got.


Lemon             
I say that’s quite a lot, aren’t you? (She takes an envelope from her pocket already opened she takes out a note)


Christie             
Yes, but no cartridge case. Strange don’t you think Miss Lemon a fired pistol and bullet and no cartridge case. (He goes to a table where the telephone is and picks up the receiver and dials a number) Hello, forensics, who’s that? Thompson? I’m Chief inspector Agatha Christie special branch, I’m at the Poirot’s resident, yes, no, not the Frenchie, the Belgie….Yes the funny bloke, not anymore I’m afraid. Well listen to me and stop mumbling. I‘ve just sent you a gun, it may well be the murder weapon and a wallet for prints, and make it fast. And as soon as you got that check the bullet with the gun. Is that clear? Ok. (Puts receiver down) What’s that in your hand?


Lemon             
A note I found on his desk. Listen to this inspector. “Miss Adriane Oliver regrets that she has to ask Mr. Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings to regard the dinner engagement for Monday the 17th as definitely cancelled.” And on it, there’s a telephone number.


Christie             
(Takes the note from her hand) Adriane Oliver the writer eh I wonder why she canceled? 
(Reads the note) This is odd.


Lemon                           
What is?

Christie                     
This letter is dated thirteen days ago while the postmark is yesterday, it’s very peculiar indeed. I wonder what she has been doing since it was written? (At the phone and dials) Hello, Miss Adriane Oliver? Chief inspector Agatha Christie special branch here, yes you heard right miss….I’m very sorry to have interrupted you. There has been an accident regarding one of your friends….Yes, that is right one of your friends….Mr. Hercule Poirot! What? What did you say? You have never met him? Could you please come over here to his apartment so that we can talk? Well either that or I shall send a police squad to your door…. Yes, it is imperative that you come. Yes, I insist. Come right away, please. Thank you so much. Goodbye. (Puts the receiver down) Funny Miss Lemon she said she had never met Poirot. Obviously she’s lying but why?


Lemon                           
You should ask her when she arrives.


Christie                           
Miss Lemon, now this door opens into the
adjoining flat.


Lemon                           
Right.


Christie             
I’ve noticed that the bolt is unlocked on this side, can you tell me why?


Lemon                           
Oh no inspector, no  

Christie
Is the flat occupied now?


Lemon
In a way yes. You see Captain Hastings lives there now. He’s been living in it for a while
not easy for him to do his work from here.


Christie                           
Ye,s I know what you mean. Do you know who else lives in these apartments?


Lemon             
I’m not sure. I think there are two ladies.


Christie                           
How do you know that?


Lemon
Mr. Poirot himself told me.
(Captain Hastings enters the room)
 
Hastings                                         
Hello Miss Lemon! Where is the old boy?

 
Lemon                                         
Oh, Captain Hastings, you’ll never guess what happened!


Christie                                         
So you didn’t hear?


Hastings                                         
Didn’t hear what? Who are you anyway?


Christie                           
I am chief inspector Agatha Christie of special branch.


Hastings             
(Smiling) Agatha?


Christie              
(Serious) My mother was very fond of murder stories what’s wrong with that?

 
Hastings             
Nothing, nothing at all.


Christie             
I like to ask you a few questions.


Hastings
I have a few questions myself. To begin with what’s this all about? I am leaving for  America this afternoon and I haven’t got time for games.


Christie                           
The police don’t play games, Captain Hastings. I want to ask you a few questions about your employer?


Hastings                           
Don’t tell me the old boy committed a crime himself?

 
Lemon                           
No Captain Hastings Mr. Poirot was very meticulous.


Hastings                                         
Was?

 
Christie                                         
Yes was. I’m Investigating the murder of Hercule Poirot!.

 
Hastings                           
You must be joking? Is  Mr. Poirot dead? He is joking, isn’t he Miss Lemon


Lemon                           
N,o he’s not, I found him this morning dead on that chair. I was utterly shocked, I had
to take a quick double brandy to calm me down.


Hastings             
I can’t believe it. But why, and who?


Christie 
That is why I am here, what do you think I’m here for? To play monopoly?
 
Hastings                           
No, no of course not. I mean, oh I’m so confused. So the old boy is dead. (Realising)
I say Miss Lemon are we unemployed now?
 
Lemon                                         
You know captain you have a great knack of stating the obvious.


Hastings                                         
Hold on Miss Lemon.


Christie
I wanted to ask you about an acquaintance of
yours Miss Adriane Oliver?


Hastings                                         
Sorry, never heard of such woman.


Christie                                         
Are you sure?


Hastings                                         
I said so, didn’t I? Why?


Christie                           
As an employer of Poirot, you must have known her and even met her. She was a very good friend of your employer. She even invited you for a dinner and then cancelled. Come on now tell me the truth.


Hastings                           
Well, alright I know her, but I did not want
to be associated with her, she’s quite mad
you know.


Lemon             
Captain Hastings is right she’s barmy.

 

Hastings             
I stopped at her apartment a fortnight ago because she wanted to see me about Poirot.
She was furious about something.


Christie             
Why was she furious I presume she told you?


Hastings                           
I say did she tell me. She was frantic. Poirot refused her point blank.

 
Christie             
You mean, you know he refused her….


Hastings             
No, you got the wrong end of the stick. Sex had nothing to do with it.


Lemon             
Sex? Poirot? You must be joking!


Hastings             
And how would you know?


Lemon             
I just know that’s all.


Christie             
(Irritated) OK, we established it wasn’t sex then what was it?


Hastings             
She wanted to use him in one of her books, I mean she wanted to write a book with him
as her new lead detective. He did not like that, not one bit. He refused and even told her that if she did he would sue her and bankrupt her. She wanted me to persuade him. She knew I was with Poirot most of the time and that I had some influence over him.


Lemon             
Now that is definitely news for me.


Christie             
(Smiling) That’s one good motive for killing someone.


Hastings             
I should think so too.


Christie             
And you never saw her again after that?


Hastings             
No, that was the only time I visited her.


Christie             
When did you rent the flat adjoining this one?


Hastings             
What flat?


Christie                           
Oh, come on the captain. Don’t tell me that you’re not living in that flat?


Hastings             
Why should I tell you?

 
(Miss Lemon makes gestures to him not to lie)


Christie             
Because Miss Lemon told me so a few minutes ago.


Hastings             
Oh she did, did she now? Well, you should have
told me that you knew.


Christie             
So you do live here next door.


Hastings             
Seems rather obvious, doesn’t it.


Christie             
Yes, I’m afraid it does. In fact, the whole thing seems rather obvious. Inescapable I should say. Was there a particular reason for you to come and live here?


Hastings             
(Sits down uncomfortable) It seemed right at the time. After all, he was very good to me.


Lemon            
And to me too.

 

Christie             
Why hide the fact that you moved in next door?


Lemon             
Yes why tell us that?


Christie             
Please Miss Lemon, let me ask the questions.


Lemon             
(Insulted) Well, I’m sorry.


Christie             
Yes, Captain tell us, please? Were you here last night!


Hastings             
Ok, ok.  Yes, I was here. I killed Hercule Poirot.
 
Lemon             
(Puts her hand onto her mouth in disbelief and it has to be quite obvious) Oh no!


Christie             
(Pleased with himself) I knew it from the start. Do you care to tell me about? However, you are not compelled to make a statement, but I must warn you that anything you say will be taken down in writing and may be used in evidence.


Hastings             
What difference does it make?


Christie             
Why did you kill him?


Hastings             
I wanted to take over. I wanted to be a great detective. Do you know he always mocked
me when I investigated things myself? Not publicly but he always ridiculed my suggestions. He used to say that whatever I suggested to him he did the opposite because I always saw the truth upside down.


Christie             
And that was a reason for killing him? Now if you hand me the cartridge please and then
I’ll escort you down to the station?  


Hastings             
Cartridge, what cartridge.

Christie             
The bullet cartridge, obviously you picked it up when you shot him.


Hastings             
I don’t know anything about cartridges. I think you are confused, inspector.
 
Christie             
Do you?


Hastings             
Yes, I do because I never shot him?


Christie             
But you said you had killed him? (The telephone ring he answers it quickly) Hello, oh is she? Ok, thank you, send her up. (Now he’s really confused) Captain Hastings, I’m afraid I have to stop this interview for a while. Would you follow me, please? I would like you to stay in your flat. Do not try anything, there are policeman everywhere you cannot leave without being seen and stopped. (Hastings exists. Turns to Miss
Lemon) Miss Lemon stay here you may be of some help to me.


Lemon             
(Disappointed) Oh, am I not a suspect too?


Christie             
(Very confused) Everybody is a suspect including myself. Miss Lemon, (Picks the telephone and dials.) Thompson any news yet? (Angry) Then be quick about it. (Slams the receiver back)

(Enters Miss Adriane Oliver very flamboyantly dressed and flamboyantly talks)

Oliver             
You must be the policeman I assume.


Christie             
(Doesn’t like her attitude) You are assuming wrong Miss Oliver. I am chief inspector
Agatha Christie.
 
Oliver             
(Sarcastic) Of special branch.


Christie             
That’s right and don’t you forget that. And this is Miss Lemon secretary of Hercule Poirot.


Lemon             
The former secretary of the late Mr. Hercule Poirot.


Oliver             
Nice to meet you.


Lemon             
Likewise, I’m sure.


Oliver             
I would like to know what this is all about Inspector from the special branch.


Christie
(Ignores her remark) It is very good of you to come. I hope I did not inconvenience you much Miss Oliver? Would you like to take a seat?


Oliver             
(Move and sits) Thanks!
 
Christie             
Are you comfortable enough?
 
Oliver                           
(Legs crossed takes a long cigarette holder and places a cigarette into it) Oh yes indeed.             


Christie             
Please don’t light that cigarette. I detest them. The thing is if I knew what I know now It wouldn’t have been necessary for you to come after all. What I wanted to ask you is what you know about Mr. Hercule Poirot, you see he’s been murdered!


Oliver             
Oh what a pity, but I’ve never heard of the man inspector.
 
Christie             
I’m sure you have some good reason to say that but you see we have found this. (Show her the note)


Oliver             
Oh! Where did you get this?


Lemon             
It came in the post this morning but apparently, it was written a fortnight ago, I gave it to the inspector.

Oliver             
I don’t remember writing this! Well obviously I did know the fellow but anyway I am very sorry he is dead.

 

Christie             
So is he!


Oliver             
I did not want to know him anymore anyway. The cheek, he refused to allow me to write a book with him in the lead. I already had the title for it. So you understand my reluctance to admit that I knew him.


Christie             
Yes, I quite understand. What was the title of the new book you were going to write?


Oliver             
Murder on the Alexandra Express!


Christie             
A good title especially when the word murder is in it.


Lemon             
Well nothing new there, he had a case on The Orient Express once.


Christie             
So, Miss Oliver, there is nothing you can tell me about him?


Oliver             
I’m afraid not. So if that is all (Stands)


Lemon             
(The phone rings and she answers it) Hello, yes. It’s for you, inspector.
 
Christie             
Sit down please Miss Oliver. (Oliver sits. Talks on the phone) Hello, yes? Are you sure? 
(Puts the receiver down) You haven’t been frank with me Miss Oliver.


Oliver             
(Stands again) Can I at least smoke this
cigarette now?


Christie             
No. Now I want you to tell me the truth about
Everything.


Oliver             
All right, you’ll bound to know sooner or later. (Pleading) Are you sure I cannot smoke this….(Inspector shakes his head vigorously) Well, what do you want to know?


Christie             
Everything!


Oliver             
Well, I might as well admit it.


Lemon             
Admit what Miss?


Oliver             
(Stands up and moves close to Christie)
I killed him!


Christie             
(Confused and stuttering a bit) Killed.....who?


Oliver             
I Killed Him.


Christie             
(Utterly confused) But that’s entirely impossible...but....Are you sure?....I mean did you say?

 
Oliver             
(Sits down in a very flamboyant mood) Yes, I killed Hercule Poirot.
 
Lemon             
Not you too?

 

BLACKOUT
 
Scene Three: a Few seconds later


Christie                                              
(Perplexed) Why did you kill him, Miss Oliver?


Oliver
I never liked the man. He was very pompous, showy and flamboyant, not like me I’m
the opposite.


Lemon                                         
(Sarcastically) We can see that with our eyes.

Oliver
Though he was a very clever man. He was hardly more than five feet four inches but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, His mustache was very stiff and military and ridiculously waxed. The neatness of his attire was almost incredible; I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than his bullet wound. Yet this quaint dandified little man was at one time one of the most celebrated members of the Belgian police.


Christie                                         
But that is not a motive for killing him? 


Oliver                           
No of course not. Did you know he was very keen on food? Very serious indeed.


Lemon                                         
His food?


Oliver
Yes, he was reaping his reward in his old age. Eating was not only his physical pleasure,
it was also an intellectual delight.


Christie
Please Miss Oliver to the point and tell me why you killed him?

Oliver             
Last night I came here and waited outside. I waited for a long time. I made sure the apartment block was quiet. I did not want to be disturbed. I had a gun fitted with a silencer. So I went in slowly and climb the stairs. I did not want to use the lift. It makes very loud sounds at night. I arrived at his door and fortunately, it wasn’t locked. His secretary must have forgotten to lock it behind her. I went in and found him sleeping on his chair there. I pressed my gun onto his shoulders and he woke up bewildered and called my name. I could see he was scared and told me that he would gladly give me permission to use his name. He was even ready to sign an affidavit right there on the spot. I explained to him that I wanted his help because I was on the edge of bankruptcy because my books weren’t doing so well. He said that if I had told him the truth he would have agreed straight away. (Stops)


Lemon             
But you still shot him? 

 
Oliver                           
No, I did not.


Christie             
But you said you killed him?

 

Oliver
Yes, I did. But as I was thinking about it, he jumped at me and as we struggled the gun went off and….


Christie             
An accident? It was quite an extraordinary accident that the bullet landed exactly on his temple.

 
Oliver             
Yes, I think so. I was amazed myself.


Lemon             
I’m utterly confused.


Christie             
You know I have to detain you. Now you follow me to the adjoining flat. Please do not try to leave. We will take you down to the station soon. (He leads him to the exit and both leave. The telephone starts ringing and continues until Christie enters again and answers it) Hello, yes, Thompson. I’m listening. Good, good. Is that so? Oh, there was? You’re definite. The bullet matches the gun. Oh, I see. And prints? Two but smudged. I see, ok thank you. (Puts receiver down. Looks at his finger and nails.) Miss Lemon please go and get Captain Hastings in here again.

Lemon             
Yes, inspector. (Goes out to fetch Captain Hastings and returns with him)


Christie             
Please sit down Captain.


Hastings             
Thank you. (Sits)


Christie             
May I see your hands, please? (Hastings show his hands and Christie inspects them) And your wrist, please. (Examines he finds nothing, pauses a bit) Do you mind if you loosen your collar?


Hasting             
What for?

 
Christie             
Just do as you’re told, please. (Hasting loosen his tie and collar, Christie inspect  thoroughly finds nothing and he’s annoyed) Thank you! I believe you told me that you’ve killed Hercule Poirot?

Hastings             
Yes, that’s right. But really I just wanted to scare him. So last night I came in late. I don’t think he expected me.


Christie             
What time was that?

 
Hasting             
One o’clock I guess. I made sure he was alone. I did not want to be disturbed. I had a gun fitted with a silencer. So I went in slowly and found him sleeping on his chair there. I pressed my gun onto his shoulders and he woke up bewildered and called my name. I could see he was scared and told him it was about time he retired and handed the business over to me. He agreed, I presume because he was frightened.


Lemon             
But you still shot? 


Hastings                           
No, I did not.


Christie            
But you said you killed him?


Hastings             
Yes, I did. But he jumped at me and as we struggled the gun went off and….

 
Lemon             
Another accident?

 
Hastings             
What do you mean?

 
Christie             
Nothing it’s quite an extraordinary accident that the bullet landed exactly on his temple.


Hastings             
I was amazed myself.


Lemon             
I am utterly confused.

 
Christie             
It so happens I don’t think I fully believe you, Captain.

 

Hasting             
Hold on a bit are you calling me a liar?


Christie             
No, I’m not.


Lemon             
He just doesn’t believe everything you told him.

 
Hasting             
Why?

 
Christie             
You see I just heard from forensics that the killer might have been scratched by Poirot. They found skin and flesh under his fingernails. Captain during your struggle did you notice Poirot’s wallet falling on the floor?


Hasting             
No, I saw nothing.

 
Christie             
Now please Miss Lemon Take him to the flat.

 
Hasting             
Are you not going to arrest me?

 
Christie             
You seem very eager to be arrested, Captain.

 
Hasting             
I just want it over and done with that is all. (He leaves with Miss lemon and returns immediately) Confounded it all, I’ve never had two suspects competing before. (Thinks)


Lemon                                         
Though it makes it somehow more interesting.


Christie                           
I’ll get to the bottom of this somehow you’ll see. It may mean a little bit more work, a little bit more digging. I’m not chief inspector for nothing.

 
Lemon             
And of special branch too.


Christie             
My point exactly.

 
Lemon             
Do you know what your biggest problem is with this case?

 
Christie             
What?

 
Lemon             
You have too much evidence.

 
Christie             
Nonsense Miss lemon, how can I have too much evidence?

 

Lemon             
Between the Captain and Miss Oliver, you have plenty.


Christie             
(Sits down defeated) It is rather plentiful, isn’t it!


End of ACT ONE

ACT TWO

Scene One – The same – Ten Minutes later
 
(Christie sitting having a cup of tea. Enters Miss Lemon)


Lemon             
(Goes to him) The only other two residents are here. The other apartments are either empty or their tenants are on holiday.


Christie             
I assume they know why they’re here.


Lemon             
If not, they very stupid. There are policemen everywhere. The press is outside waiting for your statement and waiting impatiently with Captain Hastings is none other than Inspector Japp.


Christie             
He’s here at last! Good, let him wait. It’s about time I made him taste his own medicine. His job was for me and he took it.


Lemon             
What do you want me to do Inspector?


Christie             
Bring in the first tenant. (Stands and walks away a bit) (Miss lemon goes out and returns immediately with Miss Tuppence Cowley)

 

Lemon             
(Introducing her) Inspector this is Mr.s Tuppence Cowley.


Christie             
How do you do Mr.s Cowley?


Tuppence             
Fine thanks, and please call me Tuppence, everybody does.


Christie             
I’m sorry to inconvenience you like this, but I shan’t keep you long. Would you like a cup of tea?


Tuppence             
No thank you. I’m all right.


Christie
I believe you have just arrived in London, is that correct?


Tuppence             
Yes, you are.


Christie             
Where do you usually live?


Tuppence             
Tommy and I, that’s my husband, we live in Nottinghamshire with our three children.


Christie             
I see. Mr.s Cowley, (Smiles) I mean Tuppence, a man was found murdered in this room last night.


Tuppence             
(Shocked) How awful!

 
Christie             
His name was Hercule Poirot short fat fellow with a distinctive black waxed mustache, you must have heard of him?

 
Tuppence             
Yes, of course, he’s the French detective.

 
Lemon             
Was. He was a Belgian detective.

 
Christie             
Have you seen him?

 
Tuppence             
Yes, I’ve seen him coming in and out but I never have spoken to him. I do not know him.

 
Christie             
Where were you last night between eleven and one o’clock in the morning?


Tuppence             
I stayed in, I felt too tired to dress so I had my dinner in the apartment. Usually, I dine out, but I read a book and I went to sleep.


Christie             
And what time was that?


Tuppence             
Well, let me see, I should think it was about half-past ten.


Christie             
You didn’t wake up during the night or hear something? A shot perhaps?


Tuppence             
Nothing. No, I heard nothing.


Christie             
Thank you very much Tuppence, I’m very obliged to you.


Tuppence             
I’m sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.


Christie             
Goodbye. (Tuppence leaves from where she came) No help there. Who is the other tenant?
 
Lemon             
Miss Jane Marple.


Christie             
(Chokes on his coffee) Who?


Lemon             
Miss Jane Marple and old woman.


Christie             
I know who she is. What is she doing here?


Lemon             
I haven’t got a clue. You have to ask her.


Christie             
I know and I’m not looking forward to it.


Lemon             
Why inspector.


Christie             
Because she is a busy body. She puts her nose into everything where she shouldn’t.
She‘s a pain in the……(Stops)
             
(Enters Miss Marple holding a walking stick.)
 
Marple             
(With authority) I expect that I am next since you have finished with Mr.s Cowley?


Lemon             
Oh please come in, Miss Marple, the inspector was just telling me that he was looking forward to meeting you.


Marple             
Were you, inspector?


Christie             
Yes, of course. Do you know why you are here?


Marple             
Yes of course. You’re investigating the murder of Hercule Poirot?


Christie             
Yes, I am. Now, tell me, what time did you come home last night?


Marple             
Wait a minute. Are you not going to tell me to sit down?


Christie             
Of course, how stupid of me. Will you sit down, please?

 
Marple             
Thank you? (Sits)


Lemon             
A cup of tea perhaps?


Marple             
No, not at the moment, maybe later when the inspector and I are in deep conversation.


Christie             
There is not going to be a long conversation at all. Just a few questions.

Marple             
(To Miss Lemon) He’s very abrupt, isn’t he?


Lemon             
Not at all Miss Marple, he’s a busy man.


Christie             
That I am, so if you please answer my question.


Marple             
What question was that?


Lemon             
Where were you last night between eleven and one o’clock in the morning?
 
 Marple             
Now let me see. In the afternoon I went to Bertram’s Hotel for tea. Pleasant pastries they do there especially the seed cakes. After that,t I went to Blackheath I heard there was a murder in the vicarage. It is a hobby of mine to dabble in sleuthing. I like puzzles, you see.


Lemon             
So does the Inspector


Christie             
Carry on Miss Marple, please.


Marple             
Yes, where was I? Yes, after Blackheath. Then I took a bus to the West End, I hate trains and the taxis are too expensive. Daylight robbery I say. I went to watch a play.


Lemon             
Did you really? Enjoyed it?


Marple             
No, not really. It was the Mousetrap. Too obvious and too old fashioned. I knew the murderer at once.


Christie             
Miss Marple, please. Later, later that day, please.


Marple             
I was coming to that but you keep interrupting me.

Christie             
Miss Lemon, please don’t interrupt her anymore.


Marple             
I forgot where I was?


Lemon             
The Mousetrap?


Marple             
That’s right. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t bother.


Christie             
Thank you for your advice. Now can we please carry on.


Marple             
Yes, we shall. After the play, I made an arrangement to meet a friend from St Mary Mead at the Ritz for dinner.  The food is excellent but the portions are very, very small.


Lemon             
Did this friend come back with you to the flat?


Marple             
Yes. He almost didn’t?


Lemon             
He?


Christie             
Why he almost didn’t?


Marple             
Because we had to walk upstairs.


Christie             
Wait a minute Miss Marple. Why did you not take the lift?


Marple             
Well, it was out of order. There was a signpost on it.


Christie             
Now that’s funny.
 
Marple
I didn’t think so, I was out of breath. The stairs are too steep.


Christie             
No I mean you’re the first person to mention that.


Marple             
That’s because I am very observant.


Christie             
Did you hear anything at all?


Marple             
No not a sound.


Christie             
What’s your friend's name?


Marple             
Inspector Japp of course?
 
Christie             
Japp? You were with inspector Japp?


Marple             
Yes, what’s wrong with that. We are good friends, and he is a very good detective inspector, not  abrupt at all.


Christie             
How long did he stay with you?


Marple             
For an hour or two. We had some sherry and talked about murder cases Then he left because he had a very important meeting.


Lemon             
At that time of night?


Marple             
Why not, he’s a real policeman, and time doesn’t matter.


Christie             
Was the lift still out of order when he left?

Marple             
I don’t know, I didn’t go out with him. Wait a minute, no, because I heard it coming up and opening.


Christie             
And you didn’t hear anything else?


Marple             
No.


Christie             
Thank you, Miss Marple. That is all I needed to ask unless Miss Lemon has anything to add? (Miss Marple stands)


Lemon             
Oh no, I don’t like to interfere.

 
Christie             
Thank you again, Miss Marple.
             

(The Telephone rings and Lemon answers it)


Lemon             
Hello, yes. It’s for your inspector.


Christie             
(Takes the receiver) Hello, yes, Thompson. What is it now? The fingerprints? You have found something? Tell me then. Who’s fingerprints? Really? Thank you, thank you very much indeed Thompson.

 
Marple             
Good news Inspector?
 
 Christie             
Oh yes, very good news indeed. Now Miss Marple sit down again, please.


Marple             
My pleasure. (Sits)
 
Christie             
I don’t think so. No, this time.

 
Lemon             
What is it, Inspector. What did forensics tell you?


Christie             
They have matched the fingerprints on the wallet at last.


Marple             
Have they, what clever chaps.


Christie             
Yes, they are. The fingerprints on the wallet found here are yours, Miss Marple.


Marple             
Really?


Lemon             
Really?


Marple             
I don’t believe it.


Lemon             
I don’t believe it either.


Christie             
Is this a game? Now, Miss Marple, you’d better come clean. What were your fingerprints doing on a wallet belonging to Hercule Poirot beside his dead body? You’d better tell me everything and whom are you shielding.

Marple             
I’m not shielding anybody. Inspector, you won’t believe me if I tell you.

 
Christie             
Try me!


Marple             
I killed Hercule Poirot!

 

Christie

(Yells) What?
          
Marple             
I killed Hercule Poirot! I didn’t mean to but I did.


Christie             
(Yells) What? (Goes and sits down beside her) Now Miss Marple, are you confessing to me in front of Miss Lemon that you have killed Poirot?


Marple             
Yes, that’s right.


Christie             
(Stands again) Oh no. Oh no, no, no. Two confessions are enough. No and no. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry wants to confess to killing Poirot. don’t have to stand for this sort of thing. I won’t have it. (He exits the room)


Lemon            
Miss Marple, you’ve done it again.


Marple             
What have I done?

Lemon

You have once again confused the inspector.
            
Christie             
(Comes back in with his hands in his trousers pocket. He walks to Marple and stops. He walks to the telephone lifts the receiver and dials. He doesn’t wait for an answer and puts the receiver back. He walks back to Marple)  Now Miss Marple lets hear your version.


Marple
Version? What version?


Christie             
(Holding his temper) How, when and why did you kill him.


Marple             
To tell you the truth I was fed up hearing how good Poirot was. How a great detective he was and so on and so on.


Lemon             
But he was.


Marple             
Exactly, that is the point.


Christie             
What point is that?


Marple             
He was very famous. He was recognised. While me, I am the old hag who interfere with police investigations.
Treading on their toes. Asking silly questions.
A nobody from St Mary Mead.


Lemon             
But still, you shot him? 


Marple             
No, I did not.


Christie             
But you said you killed him?


Marple              
So I did. It was an accident


Christie             
An accident?


Marple             
Yes, it was. I went in very quietly, came in here and couldn’t find the light switch. I tripped over a chair, the gun fell on the floor and fired…..


Christie             
With the bullet hitting him exactly on the temple?


Marple             
I don’t know. I didn’t wait to see. Then this morning I heard her screaming and put two and two together.


Lemon             
I’m completely utterly confused now.


Marple             
Why my dear it is very quiet simple and exactly how I’ve described it.


Christie             
Why did you pick up the wallet?


Marple             
I didn’t.


Christie             
But your fingerprints were on it.
 
 
Marple             
I know. I saw him the day before yesterday outside the apartment he was waving a taxi when he dropped his wallet and I picked it for him.


Lemon             
How unfortunate for you Miss Marple


Christie             
And fortunate for me, I think. Now, Miss Marple, can I see your hands? (Takes them and inspect for scratches. He finds nothing and looks around her neck. He finds nothing either)


Lemon             
Anything?


Christie             
No, not a sign. All right Miss Marple, now go with Miss Lemon to the other room and wait with the others please. (Lemon and Marple exist) What did I ever do to deserve this? I had an open and shut case. All I have is 3 confessions. All of which are convincing.
I don’t have a whodunit case but…..
 
(Enters Miss Lemon)
 
Lemon

What are you moaning about?
            
Christie             
This case is becoming more difficult than I thought and I’m trying to think how. I’ll make sense of this insane murder and may I suggest you do the same.


Lemon             
Yes, Inspector.


Christie             
Splendid, then suppose you give your theories about all of this.


Lemon             
I rather hear yours first.


Christie             
Meaning, of course, you have none.


Lemon              
Have you?


Christie             
No, I have not. But there is nothing supernatural about this. It happened so something has caused it and once I have found that cause I will have my solution.


Lemon             
Very penetrating. When do you think that will be an inspector?


Christie             
How should I know, maybe never?


Lemon             
Do you think so?


Christie              
No. I am not a defeatist. 


Lemon             
Do you know what you want to do next?


Christie             
I’m sure that two of the three suspects must be lying.


Lemon             
You know inspector, this is awfully good for your record.


Christie             
What do you mean?


Lemon             
You told me that before you had twelve murder cases but you only caught eleven murderers. Now you have caught three murderers and only one murder. That puts you two ahead inspector. (The telephone rings. Lemon answers it) Hello. Yes, he’s still here. (She gives Christie the receiver but as he is taken from her hand, with the other hand grabs her arm and looks at it.)


Christie             
I cannot speak to you now. I talk to you later. (Hangs up and looks at her neck) Miss Lemon, please sit down. (She sits) Can you please tell me from where did you get those scratches from?


Lemon             
Scratches? (Looks at them) Do you mean these?


Christie             
Yes, those and the ones on your neck.


Lemon             
Oh, I remember now, that was Hercule, He jumped on me because I did not feed him.


Christie             
So it was you that Poirot scratched?


Lemon             
No, inspector no.


Christie             
But you said Hercule jumped on you.


Lemon     
Yes inspector, my cat, I named him after Mr. Poirot,
is there anything wrong with that?


Christie             
No there isn’t anything wrong, but your story sounds very fishy. Here are forensics telling me that Poirot scratched his killer before he died, and low and behold you have the same scratch marks. All we have to do Miss Lemon is to take samples of your skin and forensics will tell us if it was your cat or not. 

Lemon             
Well, what’s done is done and I cannot undo a thing.


Christie             
And what have you done?


Lemon             
I thought you worked it out because of the scratches.


Christie             
Miss Lemon please worked what out.


Lemon             
That I killed him.


Christie             
Killed who?


Lemon             
Poirot. I killed Hercule Poirot.


Christie             
(Irritated) Oh no, you didn’t?


Lemon             
Oh yes, I did.


Christie             
I tell you, you did not.
 
Lemon             
And I tell you I killed Hercule Poirot.


Christie             
But why?


Lemon             
Because I loved him very much.
I wanted him.


Christie             
There is no reason to kill him for that.


Lemon             
Yes, there was. He never looked at me that way. I took care of him, made him his perfect Tisanes. He talked to me, joked with me, entertained me but not as his mistress. No, I was his employee and that is how he treated me.


Christie             
Did you ever tell him how you felt?


Lemon             
No. I couldn’t bring myself to do such a thing. I thought the look in my eyes should have been enough. It was torture Inspector.


Christie             
But why shoot him in the head?

 

Lemon             
I didn’t shoot him in the head.


Christie             
But that’s how he died. He had a bullet in his temple. You found him.


Lemon             
Well, I had to say I found him, didn’t I. But I did not shoot him. You see I came back
because I forgot the front door keys, I told you this already, and when I came in he was on that chair sleeping. For some reason his gun was in his hand. I walked slowly to him because I thought he had done something to himself but he was sleeping. I took the gun from his hand and went behind his desk as I looked to see if the gun has been shot I pressed the trigger accidentally, the bullet hit the chandelier and ricocheted to his head.


Christie             
Another accident.

 
Lemon             
Yes. I was mystified. I cleaned the gun, took his wallet with a handkerchief and drop it on the floor to confuse things.


Christie             
But where is the cartridge? We found no cartridge.


Lemon             
I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t.
 
 
Christie             
No. This is too much. This is a conspiracy. You’re all trying to make a fool out of me.             
You did not kill Hercule Poirot.
 
(Enters Inspector Japp)
 
Japp             
Of course, she didn’t, Inspector Christie. How are you, Agatha?


Christie             
How do you know she didn’t kill him.


Lemon             
You’re sure of yourself Inspector Japp.


Japp             
So I should be. I killed Hercule Poirot.


Christie             
(Screams) Oh, bloody hell no. This is definitely not happening. (He starts laughing) I know, this is some kind of a joke. You all conspired to make this a joke on me. For fun? (Both Lemon and Japp shake their heads) Well, ok let’s say you killed him what was your motive?
 
Japp             
Everybody in the department including you knew that Poirot was making me look like a fool. I looked second best beside him. Nearly all the case that I was involved in by using his grey cells solved them before me. He was always one step ahead of me. I could not catch up with him. He and his grey cells. I got fed up. I had to do something for my
reputation and I did it.


Christie             
How did you kill him?


Japp             
Not as I planned I can assure that, although it was my intention to come in here and shoot him. I was with Miss Marple, I had dinner with her at the Ritz, you know they give you too small portions. For a man……


Christie             
I know, I know, Miss Marple already told me.


Lemon             
And you had Sherry with her later in her flat.


Japp             
That’s right. I wanted to stay in her flat as long as I could so that when I get out the apartment would be quiet. I came in here with the gun in my hand and I found Poirot sleeping on that chair. I thought he had a heart attack and died. I went close to him put my head on his chest to try and listen to the heartbeat. He suddenly woke up, and in a fright, I pressed the trigger and the rest is history.


Lemon             
Another accident.


Christie             
Accident my foot. No, I won’t accept it. This is ridiculous. I talked to six people and
five of them confessed to the same murder. Utter nonsense.


Lemon             
What are you going to do?


Christie             
I am going to try and wake up from this nightmare.
 
Japp             
I did not know you were so hysterical, inspector.
Why don’t you face the facts?


Christie             
Which particular facts had you in mind? Yours? Hers? Captain Hastings? Miss Marple’s or Mr.s Oliver’s? Which facts tell me? Now listen to me both of you. You will both stay here. Do not move an inch. I need to go next door. Don’t forget you cannot escape. None of you can. There are policemen everywhere. Make yourself at home. (And leaves in a rage)


Japp             
(Follows the inspector to make sure he had left, and returns to Miss Lemon whispering) Did you knock him off Miss Lemon?


Lemon             
(Whispering too) No, I thought you did?


Japp             
I can assure I didn’t, when I arrived in here he was already dead on the floor. So I picked him up and put him in that chair and I left all the clues for us as we planned it. But I did not kill him.


Lemon             
Then It must have been Captain Hastings that killed him.


Japp             
I don’t think he has the guts to kill anybody. He is pathetic really.


Lemon             
Well, I have worked with him for a long time now and I know that he has got a temper.


(Enter Captain Hastings and Adriane Oliver, now they will not whisper anymore)


Hastings             
(To Japp) What on earth are you doing here?


Japp             
I’ve been helping the inspector. You see I killed Poirot.


Adriane             
What? That cannot be I killed him.

 

Hastings             
Hang on a minute, you’re all wrong
I killed him.


Lemon             
There is no point arguing who killed him,
the point is that Poirot is dead.


Japp             
That’s right. (Makes a sign to them to be quiet) Now look here ladies and gentleman, its ridiculous for us to argue about this, why don’t we let the police worry about it.


Adriane             
Why not. It is their job after all. (Whispering) Inspector Japp, I was supposed to kill him so why did you?


Japp              
I was telling Miss Lemon that I didn’t.


Hastings             
Then who did because when I came in he was already dead? I saw the wound in his head.


Japp             
Yes, he was in the chair because I picked him up and put him on it. He was already dead
when I came in.


Hastings             
It was you then Miss Lemon?


Lemon             
No, I swear. I was ready to pull the trigger when I saw him lying on the floor, and I ran out.


Japp             
Then you came here before me.


Adrianne             
If none of us killed him, who did?

 
(Enters Christie accompanied with Tuppence)


Hastings             
What is she doing here?
 
Christie              
She came to see me with some news about the case, she told me she remembered something important which she forgot to tell me earlier. So, I brought here to explain to every one, since all of you confessed to killing Poirot, and with solid motives too, I thought that Mr.s Tuppence revelations would do us all some good.


Japp             
No, there is no need to involve her too.


Lemon             
This is outrageous, Inspector.


Tuppence             
No, I came by myself, Inspector Japp. You mustn’t do this all of you, I won’t let you.


Christie              
Will you all sit down, please. (They all find a seat) Good, are we all settled? Mrs. Tuppence you may proceed.


Tuppence             
It is simple really, I killed Hercule Poirot. (They all stand up in astonishment, accept for Christie who drops his head on the desk) I came here from Nottingham on purpose to see him. My husband and I were on a very special case, it could have earned us quite a lot of money, but the interfering Belgian wanted to take the case over. He said that we were too young.


Christie                           
Which case is that?


Tuppence                           
The press calls it the ABC murders.


Japp                                         
Oh yes, I heard about it, that’s top news right now.


Christie                           
When did you see him?


Tuppence             
Last night at about eleven. He welcomed me with both arms, but when I asked politely to leave the case to us he laughed in my face. He wouldn’t listen he only laughed. I started to cry and pleaded with him, but he laughed at that too. Then I took the gun out of my bag and….

 

Christie                           
What else?


Tuppence             
His face, I remember his laughing face. I assume he meant me to put back into my handbag, but instead, I told him I was going to kill him.


Christie                           
And you shot him?


Tuppence             
No, not like that. I don’t know whether I would have or not. Maybe I would have, but he grabbed my pistol, the trigger went off and he fell to the floor. I dropped the pistol and hurried out of the room.


Christie             
Yes, you say you killed Poirot last night, but I don’t have any proof that your story is true? And I have already five more…..

 

Tuppence             
Why would I make a statement like that?


Christie             
Who knows, ask them.


Tuppence             
I tell you I’m telling you the truth. Look when we struggled for the gun he scratched my shoulders. (She stands and goes and shows her scratched shoulder to Christie)


Christie             
(Utterly enraged and confused) Go and sit back down, please. (She goes, he clears his throat) Mr.s Tuppence you said that you left the body on the floor.

 

Tuppence             
Yes, that’s right.


Christie             
Are you sure?


Tuppence             
Yes, I’m positive.


Christie             
Was there a lamp knocked over in your struggle?


Tuppence             
No.


Christie             
A wallet on the floor?


Tuppence              
No, nothing of the kind.


Christie             
Miss Tuppence it is very gallant of you to try and take the blame for this murder, even if you did see Poirot last night you could not have killed him.

 
Tuppence             
You don’t believe me?


Christie             
Now, you may also be interested to know what I mean to hold you all until I get to the bottom of this.


Tuppence             
What do you mean inspector, you don’t mean that you are charging all of them with his murder?  But that will be ridiculous because I have confessed and showed you proof of my guilt.

Hastings             
This is below the belt Inspector, bringing an innocent girl in here try to deceive us into…..


Christie             
Quiet all of you and will you all sit down, please. Now then I don’t know who did this yet, but I’m going to find out, and I don’t care if I have to hold you here forever. I’m going to get to the bottom of this.


Adriane             
Inspector, did you just say that you are going to hold us all here if necessary?


Christie             
Yes Miss Oliver, that is precisely what I have just said.

 

Adriane             
(Opening her big handbag and takes a long sheet of paper) Inspector Christie, please listen to this…


Christie             
What is that?


Adriane             
(Reading) Two or more persons cannot be charged as principals with a crime known to have been committed by ONLY one person.

 

Christie             
(Realises and stands) Of course! That’s it. You knew about this all along. You’ve planned it this way. Only one of you killed him and planted the evidence that all of you confessed to it.


Japp             
And if we will stick to our stories you’ll never know which one of us committed this crime.


Christie
But for crying out loud why?
 
(ALL at once except Christie)
We thought it made a good story!
 
 
THE END